Draft bill on discipline at cram schools passes first screening

2017/05/17 20:43:39 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) A draft amendment proposed following the death of writer Lin Yi-han (林奕含) that is aimed at tightening discipline at cram schools and protecting students from owners and teachers with sexual offense convictions passed its initial screening at a legislative committee on Wednesday.

The draft amendment to the Supplementary Education Act requires cram school owners, teachers and other employees to use their real names in all advertisements and publications used to recruit students, and in written contracts between the cram schools and their students.

Currently, many cram school teachers in Taiwan use false names when recruiting students and giving lessons, which some people have argued prevents students and parents from verifying the background of the teachers.

Under the amendment, cram schools should also, before hiring a teacher or an employee, submit their names, academic and work credentials, ID card photocopies and criminal record certificates issued within the past three months to local education administrative officials for approval.

If the job applicants are foreign nationals applying for a work permit for the first time, they are also required to submit a certificate to prove that they have no criminal record in their country of nationality, according to the amendment.

In addition, the amendment stipulates that government officials can inspect cram schools to examine their establishment procedures, refund policies and their implementation of measures to protect students' rights.

Furthermore, teachers and other employees of cram schools should be fired if they are convicted of rape, sexual harassment or sexual exploitation, listed as wanted for such crimes, or confirmed to have been involved in serious sexual offenses, according to the amendment that was reviewed by the Legislature's Education and Culture Committee.

The amendment also requires that the Ministry of Health and Welfare set up a database of sex offenders that can be searched by local education administrative officials to identify potential threats.

If any violations are found, cram schools could be fined between NT$50,000 (US$1,657) and NT$250,000, or have their licenses revoked or recruitment activities suspended.

The draft amendment was proposed this month following the apparent suicide of writer Lin Yi-han in late April. The 26-year-old writer, who published a novel in February about young girls raped by their teacher, was herself allegedly sexually assaulted by a cram school teacher when she was a teenager, her parents have said.

Lin's death has spurred calls for stricter laws governing the cram school industry and has called into question some long-term practices in the industry, such as the common use of false names by teachers.

(By Christie Chen and Su Lung-chi)

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